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I am exhausted by the constant bickering over what should happen to the cathedral. I've never been particularly keen on rebuilding the cathedral just as it was. For starters that feels a bit dishonest - this thing has happened and making things look the way they used to isn't going to make the earthquake unhappen. I'm also quite uncomfortable with the cathedral as a symbol for our city. All those criticisms that are often (and sometimes justly) aimed at Christchurch - that we are white and middle-class and stuffy - seem bound up in those grey stones. We may have started life as an Anglican city based on the English model but, I'd like to think, we've grown to be so much more. Lets make our built environment reflect who we are and who we want to be. The cathedral was a nice enough building (I was fond of the ship mosaic floor) but any claims to significance are rather overblown. While I'm sure some tourists visited it I can't believe it was a major reason for people to come here and I'm sure much of the appeal was the vantage point over the square that the spire offered. Talking to people who actually worshiped there I frequently hear that it was cold with poor lines of sight and iffy acoustics.

So what do I want?

I want new iconic architecture. I want buildings which reflect our Maori heritage as much as our European history. I want public places which are for everyone, where people of all faiths and none can feel like they belong. I would love it if the buildings we were famed for were libraries and theatres and schools, places for ideas to flourish. I want buildings that people will come to see because they are distinctly ours.

I want the Anglicans to have a good place to worship, in the city but not trying to be the city's heart. I'd like to see them with a building that fits their current needs. Somewhere warm where people can hear the sermon from comfortable seats. I think this should be run by and for the Church with no confusion about who pays for what or who has rights to decide what happens to it.

And in the Square where the cathedral used to stand? How about a memorial garden? Use some of the stones and arches from the cathedral to make a contemplative space, a peaceful haven. We could grow roses over the window arches and turn the font into a fountain.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 15th, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
absolutely agree with all you say!
Jul. 15th, 2012 09:05 am (UTC)
Re: cathedral
Thank you, mystery commenter.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )